Innovation is a relatively new focus for the legal industry but the changes already experienced point to the fact that disruption needs to become the new business as usual. To succeed, there needs to be multi-party ownership: lawyers in true collaboration with peers in the organisation. How do we develop the skills and knowledge to create the strategy? What are our guiding principles to help our decision making? How do we step outside business-as-usual to explore what’s possible now and in the future?
These questions were just some of the important issues raised in a recent series of roundtable discussion groups exploring the challenges facing the legal profession when it comes to legal innovation. 80+ senior legal professionals joined us to share what is happening within their organisations and the wider community in regards to legal innovation – they shared their challenges as well as ideas for creating a path for change.
“Time” Biggest Challenge for Legal Innovators
Of the 80 legal professionals we spoke to, 48% said that getting enough time and resources away from “business as usual” was their biggest challenge in driving innovation within their organisations.
What is Your Biggest Challenge in Driving Innovation Internally?
Making Innovation Intrinsic to Your Business
As legal professionals we are used to having limited bandwidth to deliver the legal services that matter most to our clients and business. With ever-increasing pressures on time, and constraints on spend, we are asked to deliver more for less, faster. On the other hand, we recognise that the modern client and the broader business world expects us to keep up with innovative working methods and technology, while being flexible in how our services are delivered and paid for.
Whose Responsibility is it to Foster and Implement Innovation?
The legal industry has been built on a business model that is founded in timebased metrics – how can we crack that open to start to deliver a service and model that fits the world in which we operate? Organisational bias for the status quo makes innovation and change hard. Our organisations are great at offering a public show of innovation and resources allocated to it – but is enough actually being done to ensure all levels of the business are contributing to the culture which is going to shape how adaptable we are going forward?
Why Innovate and Why Now?
There’s no burning platform for change. Senior legal leaders are still not motivated enough to disrupt their business model and many clients are not pushing enough to force a change. The question still asked is ‘’why innovate and why now?’’ Within law firms there is both external and internal pressure to show transformation, which is in-line with or ahead of competitors and alternative legal providers. How does the traditional law firm expect to compete with ‘’New Law’’ and continue to operate as a profitable business with its current fee structure and business model? Legal professionals are being forced out of their comfort zone and are reassessing the skill sets that make an effective transformative leader. Legal innovation feels like a slow, frustrating process but the progress made in the industry in the last 5 years proves how quickly things can change when outcomes dictate necessary change.
The Legal Innovation Report 2019
Read more about the challenges facing legal innovation in Australia in The Legal Innovation Report 2019. Fill in the form below to download your free copy: